There comes a time in every person's life when the warning signs are so dire, the trends of life are so clear, that there is going to be something major about to happen, and we should be rightly anxious about what is going to happen.
The Liberal Party has faced several of these crises over the past couple of decades, specifically in all through the 1980's, and now since 2006. In both instances, we faced a total wipeout of our support in the province that formed the bedrock of our support for most of our history - Quebec. No one needs to be reminded of the Mulroney years for the Libs in Quebec, and since 2006, we've utterly lost the confidence and votes of most Quebeckers, and we're not likely to get it back anytime soon.
Now, the winds in Quebec are once again showing change, this time in favour of the New Democratic Party, after going through all the alternatives - Liberals, Conservatives, and Bloc. It was natural that eventually the NDP would get a chance, but I think many were in denial. Now the reality has been foisted upon us.
And the issue here is that as Quebec goes, so the rest of the nation is influenced. If the NDP are going to replace the Bloc in the province, it will not only pose a problem to the separatistes but it poses a serious problem for the Liberal Party. As Canada's default centre-left option, being crowded out by the NDP is not something we relish, but if they gain momentum in Quebec, the likelihood is that they'll pick it up elsewhere as well. This mostly goes to benefit the Conservatives, as its unlikely the NDP are going to gain so much they'll surpass Harper's party, and in fact may allow for the Conservatives to have enough of a split vote in enough ridings to get a majority. In fact, we could be looking at a 1984 or 1988 scenario, where the Conservatives will power ahead with base support, while the other parties, specifically the NDP and Liberals battle each other for votes.
If the NDP keeps gaining traction, that's what I expect to happen, in fact. It will either be that, or a similar situation to the 1983 UK general election, which nearly saw Labour wiped out in the popular vote by the Liberal/Social Democrat Alliance. For different reasons, this may happen in this election with the Liberals and New Democrats.
Either way, really, I don't expect the Liberals to fall back into third place in this election. For all the worrying we have to do, the fact is, Ignatieff has held the Liberal Party's base much better than Dion did. If there was an opportunity for the NDP to pass the Liberals, it was in 2008, not 2011. But that doesn't mean they can't get damn close this time around. That's why the NDP are targeting us, in case some didn't realize - they honestly don't care about unseating Harper this time around, they care more about replacing the Liberals as Official Opposition. The Conservatives and NDP are working in tandem to squeeze us out. This is in fact the entire raison d'etre of the New Democrats, the reason why they were even formed - to replace the Liberals, and make Canada a straight left-right fight. Some people, like Kinsella, say a merger or coalition is the way to solve our issues - no, it's not. It is for anti-Harpers, but it isn't for pro-NDPers. They want the Liberals to be crushed, like the Conservatives do. There is nothing else to it. Nothing.
So we best start making our moves now. Polls aren't set in stone, and it could all change. Hell, maybe CROP and Ekos are wrong - they have both been known to be a little strange sometimes. But the fact is, we're no longer facing just a Conservative onslaught against us, we're also facing a fight on the left. The NDP are now getting the upper hand in Quebec, and that's all they need to get the ball rolling. We must stop them, if we want the Liberal brand to survive as a viable alternative in this country, and not simply as second-fiddle to another left-right paradigm that so often characterizes the politics of other countries. It's time we recognize the real threat just outside our doorstep. It's not too late.